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Oscar Peterson in Manchester

July 2005

I was lucky to be tipped off that this legend of the jazz era was going to be giving a concert and managed to get a ticket with a friend. As luck would have it, we ended up in the choir stalls over-looking the great man and I managed to sneak a few shots. This wasn't easy as, even at 1600 ASA, I was down to about 1/25 second and, with a 70-300mm zoom, there were far more duff shots than useable ones due to camera shake, balancing the lens on the safety rail. (The odd colours were due to the stage lighting.)

However, we'll never see his like again so I realised that you've got to grab the chance while you can! (He was 80 by this point now and could hardly walk. This was the first time he'd been over here in 15 years from his home in Canada and I thought it might be his last.) Despite having suffered a stroke in 1993, in which he lost the use of his left hand for a while, he has worked hard to regain it and we could see and hear that the dexterity for which he was acclaimed was back up to strength.

Speaking to the audience between many of the pieces, Oscar listed various friends who had departed recently. It read like a roll-call of the great names of jazz and many of the pieces they played were dedicated to one or more of those absent friends. He was pretty much the last of the few from the original era by that point.

A truly wonderful occasion which I'd hoped to experience for around 30 years. I never thought I'd see him but, amazingly, had the chance again in Liverpool in 2006!

Reflections of Bass

And 1, 2, 3, 4...

Waiting to come back in after a bass solo.


Sneaking a look across to the drummer.


Intoxicating blues.

A storming version of Sweet Georgia Brown to finish.

Over, all too soon.


Very happy audience.

(These shots have all been reduced but the originals are intact in 3008x2000 format with mildest Jpeg compression)

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